Kalamazoo, Michigan native Kevin Hamlin, crew chief for the GM Goodwrench Service Plus team has a record of four wins, 18 top-fives and 40 top-10's, in the 66 races since taking the reins of the No. 3 team in June of 1998. The GM Goodwrench ...
Kalamazoo, Michigan native Kevin Hamlin, crew chief for the GM Goodwrench Service Plus team has a record of four wins, 18 top-fives and 40 top-10's, in the 66 races since taking the reins of the No. 3 team in June of 1998.
The GM Goodwrench Service Plus team have entered the top-3 in the NASCAR Winston Cup points standings after 13 events that make up the 34 race NASCAR 2000 schedule. This is familiar territory for the RCR championship team. In four seasons beginning with 1993 until the end of the 1996 schedule, Dale Earnhardt and the GM Goodwrench Service Plus team fell out of the top-5 in the points standings only one time in 124 events. In that same time they were in the top-three in the points for 108 of those 124 events. Falling to the fourth position in August of 1996 as the GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo driver steadily held his position there after suffering a death defying accident in late July at Talladega in 1996.
Even though the GM Goodwrench Service Plus team finished out of the top-5 this past weekend, they still walked away from the monster mile considering themselves lucky. Earlier in the race Earnhardt was preparing to come in for a green flag pit stop when his right front tire went flat. The seven-time champion called in on the radio, 'right flat; right flat' as he proceeded down pit road. The GM Goodwrench Service Plus crew changed all four tires and put the No. 3 back on the track without losing a lap to the leaders.
In the 41 races that Dale Earnhardt has competed at Michigan Speedway in his NASCAR Winston Cup career, he has been to Victory Lane two times.
Dale Earnhardt will be defending his IROC title this weekend at Michigan Speedway having won four of the last six IROC events, including a memorable father and son last lap duel at Michigan last year with Dale Earnhardt beating his son Dale Jr by a fender.
Earnhardt currently leads the IROC series points standings with two races remaining. He won the first event of the season at Daytona International Speedway and had a third place position in the second event at Talladega Superspeedway.
The GM Goodwrench Service Plus team had a top-5 finish last August at Michigan Speedway. After starting from the 38th position Earnhardt went on to lead 26 laps on his way to a fifth place finish.
"We aren't really looking at the points that much," remarked Earnhardt. "You look at it race by race and win by win, if you're competitive week in and week out then the points will come. As we start to approach the halfway mark of the season the points will become more of an issue. Right now we just want to win."
"We have a solid team and last week the crew proved that they are some of the best in the business," commented Earnhardt. "We gained close to ten positions on pit road during the race. Track position is critical at Dover and those positions really helped us move to the front."
"It's always nice to come home," commented Kevin Hamlin. "My family is from Kalamazoo and they come down to visit. We used to come here together and watch these races about 15 years ago. If we can squeeze in a win this Sunday, it would be special to share that with them."
"Gas mileage always seems to be a factor sometime throughout the day at Michigan," said Hamlin. "If it does come down to gas this year, hopefully we'll be the one with enough Unocal racing fuel to make it to the end."
"It has been fun running the IROC series," remarked Earnhardt. "Of course it's always fun when you're winning. Jay Signore has put together a good bunch of cars that seem to be pretty equal. I know Dave (Marcis) and Sauter (Jim) have been working hard to get them as close as possible."
"I don't know if we can match last year's finish," said Earnhardt "Dale Jr. gave it a hard run and that was a lot of fun for both of us. I never got the chance to race my Dad for a win, so to do it with Dale Jr. in the IROC race with all of those other drivers really made it special."